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Children's Fiction Country & Ethnic


Animal Legends from Around the World

illustrated by Jan Thornhill

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Sep 2006
Country & Ethnic, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2006
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 4 to 8
  • Grade: p to 3


Travel the globe with award-winning storyteller and artist Jan Thornhill in this collection of nine folktales from around the world. Each story leads the reader from one continent to the next as one of the featured animals leaps to the next tale. Beginning with Elephant and Hare in a story from India, Hare then takes readers on to West Africa to play a new role in the next tale with Tortoise. These seamless links between continents and animals represent a worldwide celebration of sharing stories. Folktails enchants the reader with art as timeless and charming as the tales themselves. Every wrinkle on an elephant, every feather of a bird’s wing, and every age in a million-year-old rock are strikingly detailed while the distant backgrounds call to mind the dreamlike quality of the folktales. Thornhill pays homage to the fabric designs of each story’s national origin in the borders that frame her artwork, and includes the source of the borders’ inspiration at the back of the book. Meanwhile, Thornhill’s thoughtfully portrayed scenes provide opportunities for visual find-the-animal games for younger audiences. Folktails is at once wise, thought provoking, and beautiful — a collection that reflects the offerings of storytellers the world over.

About the author

Jan Thornhill is an author, illustrator and designer who brings her fascination with the natural world to her books for children. They include I Found a Dead Bird (National Parenting Publications Gold Award, Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction, Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award); The Wildlife 123 (UNICEF-Ezra Jack Keats International Award for Excellence in Children’s Book Illustration, Governor General’s Award finalist); and The Wildlife ABC (Governor General’s Award finalist). Jan recently won the Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People. She spends her spare time in the woods obsessively collecting and cataloguing wild mushrooms and slime molds.

Jan Thornhill's profile page


  • Winner, Vicky Metcalf Award for author Jan Thornhill's body of work
  • Commended, Resource Links, Best of the Year

Editorial Reviews

Thornhill’s art manages to be both spectacular and quiet. Her characteristic rich colors and dramatic framing are eye-catching… Thornhill has found pourquoi tales that, without losing their shrewd energy, also convey the courage, wit, and tenderness of the animal protagonists…

Quill & Quire

Folktails is an excellent book…funny, brilliant, and beautifully illustrated. The inviting cover is just one of the many great illustrations in this collection of tales. Jordan (Age 13) gives Folktails: Animal Legends from Around the World 5 enchanting stars!

Sarah’s Stars

Nine countries, nine classic folk tales, all illustrated with Thornhill’s vibrant, full-page paintings.

Calgary Herald

What makes these stories great for kids is just how clearly they present common human foibles, and how succinctly. With their strong plots and brevity, they’re excellent for reading aloud. The rich colors and intricate designs of Thornhill’s full-page illustrations draw viewers into the lush world of story…

Toronto Star

Celebrate cultural themes with colorful illustrations and economical language.

Star Phoenix (Saskatoon)

The stories are refreshingly unfamiliar, making this a worthwhile and attractive collection.

Winnipeg Free Press

Folktails: Animal Legends from Around the World is a wonderful introduction to international myths and legends, and recommended to young animal lovers everywhere.

Midwest Book Review

So it goes, with each of the 10 tales’ illustrations – in Thornhill’s inimitable style, a most felicitous combination of clarity and lushness – reflecting the country, even the trees of the tales origin.

The Globe and Mail

Thornhill has gathered folktales from around the world that are sure to both entertain and encourage discussion around their messages and origins.

BC Parent

Thornhill eloquently mixes description and narration to craft excellent storytelling pieces that work with or without the appealingly detailed artwork.

Resource Links

Other titles by Jan Thornhill